History in Japan
The ACO first toured Japan in the 1980s. Since then the Orchestra has played to packed concert halls across the country, including in Tokyo and Osaka.
Before the 2023 tour to Tokyo, the Orchestra toured last toured to the city back in 2018, with the support of the Australia-Japan Foundation and Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, performing two concerts at the prestigious Yomiuri Otemachi Hall.
The concerts were led by Richard Tognetti and reflected the broad scope of repertoire and artistic collaborations that have made the ACO critically acclaimed nationally and internationally in some of the world’s most prestigious concert halls and arts festivals. During our 2018 tour ACO musicians also conducted a string workshop at the prestigious the Toho Gakuen School of Music and gave a masterclass for double bass students at the Tokyo University of the Arts (Tokyo Geijutsu Daigaku) in Ueno.
ACO musicians Melissa Barnard and Maja Savnik explore the inner-garden near the Meiji Shrine, Tokyo. Photo by Nic Walker.
Personal ties to Japan run deep with the musicians in the Orchestra.
Richard Tognetti enjoys winter each January in Niseko where he owns a property. Principal Violin Satu Vänskä also visits Japan every year. Vänskä, who was born in Tokushima, attended primary school in Japan and her ties with the country where she was born remain strong today. Both Richard and Satu, as well as other members of the ACO, perform in Niseko at the Niseko Winter Music Festival each year.
Violinist Aiko Goto, who joined the ACO in 1998, grew up in Japan and returns to her homeland each year to perform with Seiji Ozawa’s famous Saito Kinen Orchestra at the Ozawa Matsumoto Festival. Every year since 2000 Aiko performs a charity concert at the Japanese Embassy in Canberra, which since 2011 has raised funds for the Tohoku Japan Earthquake and Tsunami appeal. In 2016 Aiko was awarded a Japanese Foreign Minister's Commendation for her significant contribution to the Japan-Australia Friendship on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the Basic Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation between Japan and Australia.